InteractiveCSP (iCSP) Discussion forum tips

Ten tips for using discussion safely, appropriately & effectively.

Learning from and acting upon an iCSP discussion

1. Critically appraise and reflect upon what you read on iCSP

The discussions provide you with an excellent learning resource but it is important to keep in mind that they are largely anecdotal and based upon individual opinion and experience. They are not generally evidence based. You should therefore appraise, reflect upon and validate what you read and assimilate it into your clinical reasoning and decision-making with care. You must always have a sound basis for your decisions and actions and you must ONLY operate within your scope of practice.

2. Your actions are your responsibility

It is very important to understand that any actions you take as a professional must be within your scope of practice and based upon sound reasoning and decision-making. This applies equally to what you read on iCSP. Any actions you take will be your sole responsibility. If in doubt seek guidance from clinical colleagues or supervisors or seek further evidence before acting.

Adding a discussion

3. Decide first if the discussion forum is the right route to address your need

ICSP forums should not be used in place of clinical supervision, or for needs that immediate colleagues could meet, or for confidential issues or for advertising of any kind. They should be used to seek the views, ideas and experiences of your peers, for example, clinical and professional problems, variations in practice, or changes to service structures, new research and developments and so on.

4. Check if your question has already been asked and answered

Start by searching the network(s) to check if the question has been asked before. You may find the answers/support you need or an established discussion that you can join.

5. Think it through before you start writing

What is the context? Why you are creating the discussion? What are your main points/needs? How can you frame it to encourage people to respond? Do you want to hear from particular users? These are the sorts of questions you should ask yourself before committing anything to type.

6. Write your discussion in a way that encourages and helps people to respond

Keep in mind that you are trying to start a discussion. So, you will need to interest and engage people and make it easy for them to join in. These tips will help. Summarise the discussion theme in the title, use simple and accessible language, write out abbreviations in full, adopt a friendly tone, don’t write in capitals or overuse exclamation marks and sign off and thank people at the end.

7. Only email network members if it is urgent and only add the discussion to one network

The email feature is designed to help those with an urgent support need to get quick responses. It is not intended for every discussion. Please respect your peers’ inboxes and only use it when appropriate. If you add your item to more than one network it will create duplicate, unconnected discussions on the website. If your content is relevant to multiple networks the facilitators will share it with those networks. That way it will be a single discussion appearing in multiple networks.

Replying to a discussion

8. Read the other replies before responding

Make this your starting point so that you know what has already been said. This will help to guide how you reply and may challenge and further your own understanding of the issues raised. It may also greatly reduce what you want or need to say e.g. ‘I agree with the points made by… but would also add…’

9. Put your reply into context

Clarify what part(s) you are responding to and on what basis e.g. personal opinion, clinical experience, research etc. All responses are valid but it is helpful to other users and particularly to the originator of the discussion to understand what your views are based upon. Sign-off with your name and role (unless you have a reason for not being identified) as this further helps put your reply into context but also gives the forum a human face.

10. Write your response in a way that encourages further discussion

Be constructive. Debate the evidence and facts and put your interpretation or opinions across respectfully and focus on the issues raised not on other contributors. If you disagree with other views, explain why. Try to use simple and accessible language and write out abbreviations in full.  Aim for a friendly tone and don’t write in capitals or overuse exclamation marks.  It can also be really helpful if you summarise the essence of your contribution at the start so that other readers can quickly grasp the main thrust of your argument.  Finally, unless you are making an anonymous contribution, remember to sign off at the end.

More help 

If you require further guidance, please contact the website team on website@csp.org.uk or telephone 0207 314 7870

Go to iCSP

Go to www.csp.org.uk/icsp

Last reviewed: